It has been said that the number one thing that dying people wish they had done differently over the course of their lives was choosing to live their life under their own terms rather than someone else’s terms. Having the freedom to live the life that you want and having the ability to be your true, authentic self are some of the most empowering feelings you will EVER experience! As we form our opinions about people, events, experiences and more of who and what we encounter in life though, we may begin to lose sense of our freedom and that ability. We might feel like we are no longer in control of our lives or we put our future and well-being in another person’s hands or we choose to take control over what another person thinks, says or does. Some could argue that these actions, particularly choosing to take control over another person’s thoughts, words or actions, are a form of slavery.
One of the many lessons the history of the United States has taught us it is that slavery is not the way. The U.S. Civil War resulted in more American casualties than in World War I, World War II and all other U.S. wars COMBINED! For four years, the country battled over slavery and all of the reasons for and against it. Today, you might think, “Why didn’t the slaves just say ‘no’?” or “How did the slaves come to be in this situation?” Slave masters and other authority figures had very simple yet powerful methods of persuasion and knew that if they could become the master of the slave’s mind, then they could also become the master of the slave’s thoughts, words and actions. As Denzel Washington put it in the movie, The Great Debaters, “Keep the body, take the mind.” Once you muster the power to master your mind, you muster the power to master your life. Take or give away any or all opportunity to find that power and your life will never truly be yours. Even though slavery was declared illegal by the U.S. 13th Amendment over 150 years ago, psychological warfare and psychological slavery are still legal and very much alive in our country and our world today.
People with autism, learning differences or other conditions that affect the mind are particularly susceptible and vulnerable to psychological warfare and psychological slavery. They become targets of being used, abused, extorted and exploited. In their attempts to form loving, meaningful relationships and to find their place and purpose in this world, they are more likely than not to come across individuals that have ill will and ulterior motives. So what do we do about it to protect them? We keep them away from these people. Then, the paranoia starts to grow and we start keeping them away from more people. Then, the paranoia grows even more and we limit them to the people of the household and a few more select “safe places.” Then, the paranoia grows EVEN MORE and those “safe places” are no longer safe. Then, the household is all that young people get exposed to and then…before you know it…your young person has become a prisoner inside their own home! This is then reinforced by parents and other caregivers giving the young person the psychological impression that the outside world is full of terrible, dangerous, unforgiving demons when, in actuality, the real demons are the ones that YOU created inside your own head!
This very process is how protective parents and caregivers become overprotective and begin displaying attitudes and mindsets similar to those of the Civil War slave masters, keeping themselves and others in captivity. Put enough fear in themselves and their young people and the analysis paralysis prevents anyone and everyone from ever being free again…but you’re all safe…for now. This begs the question…which is more costly…having safety or lacking freedom? Getting out of your comfort zone and away from your limitation-based mindset sacrifices safety but helps you find your freedom and what you are capable of doing and surviving…staying and getting comfortable where you are keeps you safe but you risk never being truly free to find out what you are meant to do on this planet to make it a better place to live! You owe it to yourself and to the billions of people you share this world with to give yourself the gift of freedom to VENTURE OUT into the unknown…live life as if tomorrow will not come…and see past the negative opinions of others to see the positive truth of yourself!
In closing, an ancient warrior spirit named Ramtha once said, “To let life happen to you is irresponsible. Creating your day is your divine right.” I say, “Life doesn’t come to you…it’s up to you to COME TO LIFE!” Make this holiday season, this coming year and the years to come truly about YOU and what YOU can do now that YOU ARE FREE TO LIVE YOUR LIFE ON YOUR TERMS!!!